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    Ancient genomes from Caucasus inc. Maykop

    Yeah, Haak and Strause (and Reich)!

    See: Chuan-ChaoWang et al:
    "The genetic prehistory of the Greater Caucasus"

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/05/16/322347

    Archaeogenetic studies have described the formation of Eurasian 'steppe ancestry' as a mixture of Eastern and Caucasus hunter-gatherers. However, it remains unclear when and where this ancestry arose and whether it was related to a horizon of cultural innovations in the 4th millennium BCE that subsequently facilitated the advance of pastoral societies likely linked to the dispersal of Indo-European languages. To address this, we generated genome-wide SNP data from 45 prehistoric individuals along a 3000-year temporal transect in the North Caucasus. We observe a genetic separation between the groups of the Caucasus and those of the adjacent steppe. The Caucasus groups are genetically similar to contemporaneous populations south of it, suggesting that - unlike today - the Caucasus acted as a bridge rather than an insurmountable barrier to human movement. The steppe groups from Yamnaya and subsequent pastoralist cultures show evidence for previously undetected Anatolian farmer-related ancestry from different contact zones, while Steppe Maykop individuals harbour additional Upper Palaeolithic Siberian and Native American related ancestry.
    Happy Reading.







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    Quote Originally Posted by Cpluskx View Post
    Well, well, well, Krause and Haak and David Reich( and presumably Patterson and the rest of the Harvard group by implication since Reich is listed as an author), Kurt Alt, and Ron Pinhasi don't just consider a south of the Caucasus origin for PIE possible, they're also seeing a possibility for Greek and Armenian spreading from there (so Drews may have been right after all) and perhaps into India as well. That would be a modified "Armenian" homeland hypothesis. Or is it modified at all???? WOW!



    Oh wait, Krause, Haak, Patterson, Alt, Pinhasi, the Chinese, they're all Middle Easterners biased against EHG hunter-gatherers. It's a conspiracy! :)

    I guess I wasn't crazy to think that there was something to the Ivanov and Gamkrelidze body of work, as I argued back in 2012 and before.

    I have to read this all carefully and the supplement too, however.

    I'm also not sure how this fits with the South Asian paper the Harvard team just put out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cpluskx View Post
    Yep I agree; wrap it up, line up, shake hands, say "good game".
    mmmmmmmmm dooouuughhhnuuuutz

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    David Reich himself advocated a more southern origin for PIE. Considering he obviously knows about upcoming papers he must have referred to findings in this paper and others that were ruling out the classic Steppe model.

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    Seems that Ivanov and Gamkrelidze without genetic data we have today were the most close to PIE homeland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milan.M View Post
    Seems that Ivanov and Gamkrelidze without genetic data we have today were the most close to PIE homeland.
    Indeed. Dienekes too, without any ancient dna. That's IF this is correct. The authors aren't saying it's definite. They're just saying it's possible.

    There was no appreciable gene flow south over the Caucasus according to the authors, so Anatolian by that route is out. Those languages either descend from "origiinal" PIE or it came from the Balkans.

    How does the "steppe" that the amateurs found in some early Armenian groups fit into all this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Indeed. Dienekes too, without any ancient dna. That's IF this is correct. The authors aren't saying it's definite. They're just saying it's possible.
    There was no appreciable gene flow south over the Caucasus according to the authors, so Anatolian by that route is out. Those languages either descend from "origiinal" PIE or it came from the Balkans.
    How does the "steppe" that the amateurs found in some early Armenian groups fit into all this?
    Well I will stay on my opinion cause it makes more sense to me.Armenian samples from which date? Anyway if that will be Iron age there was migrations some even recorded from Balkans to Anatolia,and steppe to Anatolia and Iran like Phrygians,Cimmerians,Scythians etc if that can explain steppe in early Armenians? But that does not concern PIE homeland or migrations,until that time several daughter languages were developed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post

    How does the "steppe" that the amateurs found in some early Armenian groups fit into all this?
    Made me lol, considering me trying to tell those guys how on earth could you expect or be so sure that there was no EHG related ancestry in the Caucasus and adjusting region already by Late_Neolithic.

    I was 100% convinced we would find EHG like ancestry in Caucasus.

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    Even I myself numerous times on the forum said that Greek came from east like the paper suggest rather than steppe,so I started to consider "Armenian" homeland,even thought most people here insisted that everything came from steppe,as if matter that much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Their Eneolithic steppe sample in Admixture is far more than 50% CHG. In Samara Eneolithic, the CHG gets cut down a bit by WHG and, what, East Asian? Still, more than 50%.

    CHG was on the steppe very early indeed. Perhaps that's why they put in all that language about pre-existing clines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Their Eneolithic steppe sample in Admixture is far more than 50% CHG. In Samara Eneolithic, the CHG gets cut down a bit by WHG and, what, East Asian? Still, more than 50%.

    CHG was on the steppe very early indeed. Perhaps that's why they put in all that language about pre-existing clines.
    in his book David Reich says CHG admixture in the steppe started ca 7 ka, but nobody knows exactly when
    it is observed in Khvalynsk, that is the earliest afaik

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    in his book David Reich says CHG admixture in the steppe started ca 7 ka, but nobody knows exactly when
    it is observed in Khvalynsk, that is the earliest afaik
    I think that Eneolithic steppe sample is 4300 BC, so that's about right. However, it's already there in really big percentages by that time, so it must have come earlier. The other hint, as you said, is lack of ANF at that point.

    Maykop is just too young for most of it.

    This is why they're saying they can't be more definitive. They don't have, or don't want to publish samples old enough to know for certain whether it's really old on the steppe, or a bit more recent but from an as yet unsampled population.

    Since I've always thought that Basal may have moved in from the Mesopotamia region, I'd love to see some ancient genomes from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I think that Eneolithic steppe sample is 4300 BC, so that's about right. However, it's already there in really big percentages by that time, so it must have come earlier. The other hint, as you said, is lack of ANF at that point.

    Maykop is just too young for most of it.

    This is why they're saying they can't be more definitive. They don't have, or don't want to publish samples old enough to know for certain whether it's really old on the steppe, or a bit more recent but from an as yet unsampled population.

    Since I've always thought that Basal may have moved in from the Mesopotamia region, I'd love to see some ancient genomes from there.
    This is one thing that is bothering me in this whole "Transcaucasia vs. Steppes" discussion. I mean, if the bulk of the CHG in the Pontic-Caspian steppe populations is very ancient, having being absorbed in high proportions before 5000 BC (the lack of ANF in the steppes also indicate that early introgression), then it is, from a linguistic point of view, very hard to accept the possibility that Early PIE was a "CHG language" from the southern slopes of the Caucasus, because that would imply that Anatolian IE (or also possibly, according to this study, even much less diverged languages like Armenian and especially Greek) and the Pontic-Caspian steppe IE would've split in the 6th millennium BC. Either scientists assumed a much faster pace of linguistic evolution, or it is just impossible that the initial split of PIE happened so early.

    Now, if we could demonstrate that there was a significant amount of extra CHG in the Chalcolithic Pontic-Caspian region, that could suggest a new demographic and presumably linguistic layer onto the older ethnic makeup.

    As for the lack of EHG in those few "Hittite" (or at least "near to the Hittite") samples, I was thinking (okay, speculating) a bit about it from the assumption (pretty much mainstream among linguists) that Anatolian IE split much earlier than the others and probably in a very different historic context (certainly not the mobile horse-driven pastoralism of Yamnaya and descendants). It also seems from this paper that the North Caucasus, right next to the steppes, had a very different genetic structure with a much higher CHG and ANF, so I'd think it is plausible that the southernmost portions of Sredny-Stog and/or Khvalynsk in direct contact with the North Caucasus could have some substructure in a transition zone to the steppes. We know now that Maykop had EHG, which is not found further to the south, so there was some cline. If the ancestors Hittites came from this region and expanded more or less in the fashion of later IE branches into regions that were already very populated (like Greece and South Asia), then they could've migrated south becoming a relevant and dominant minority with an increasingly diluted DNA makeup, and given their very early separation from the steppe or North Caucasus populations it's probable that by the time they established in former Hattic-speaking lands to form their kingdom and empire their EHG portion was just too small to make a significant presence in the genomic makeup of the region's average inhabitant. Mere genetic drift and regional substructure could make EHG virtually invisible after a few centuries unless we had many more samples. Doesn't this type of thing happen when migrations were not that powerful to trigger an appreciable population replacement? Just playing a bit with this speculation, let's imagine this totally hypothetical (and admittedly baseless for now) scenario:

    From CHG-enriched southern steppes just north of the North Caucasus (South_Steppe): 40% EHG, 55% CHG, 5% ANF
    Admixture with (north or south?) Caucasians during the Proto-Anatolian phase: 25% South_Steppe + 75% Local Caucasians (5% EHG, 70% CHG, 25% ANF) >>> 13% EHG, 66% CHG, 8% ANF.
    Admixture with North-Central Anatolians during the Hittite phase: 20% Proto-Anatolian + 80% Hatti and other natives (0% EHG, 30% CHG, 70% ANF) >>> 2.5% EHG, 37% CHG, 60.5% (2.5% EHG - and that's assuming that the Caucasians already had some EHG even before Maykop and that the Proto-Anatolians still made a reasonable demographic impact of ~25% and the Hittites one of ~20%, not too shabby)

    I'm just entertaining all the possibilities, especially considering that apparently the CHG component in the steppes is MUCH older than even the 1st Indo-European split around ~4000 BC, and not just some Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic influx bringing not just a new (presumably more advanced) people but potentially a new language family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Their Eneolithic steppe sample in Admixture is far more than 50% CHG. In Samara Eneolithic, the CHG gets cut down a bit by WHG and, what, East Asian? Still, more than 50%.

    CHG was on the steppe very early indeed. Perhaps that's why they put in all that language about pre-existing clines.
    Look at AG3 and MA-1. It's not that CHG came into the steppe early, it's that its been there since MA-1.

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    2 members found this post helpful.
    My emphases:

    Perceiving the Caucasus as an occasional bridge rather than a strict border during the Eneolithic and Bronze Age opens up the possibility of a homeland of PIE south of the Caucasus, which itself provides a parsimonious explanation for an early branching off of Anatolian languages.
    Note that they don't say the Caucacus was a river, running south to north.

    Waiting to hear more from the DNA wonks...

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    I don't see much of a difference between Kura Araxes and Late Maykop on the admixture chart above. The Caucasus samples also seem to be G2, J, and L, yes? Our prior Kura Araxes sample was also L.
    Last edited by Angela; 17-05-18 at 07:18.

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    [IMG][/IMG]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    [IMG][/IMG]
    Though I understand the possibility (and even likelihood) of an ultimate South Caucasian homeland for the earliest form of PIE, I somehow find it difficult to understand that, in the ancient world, the steppe populations would've been linguistically assimilated by a South Caucasian population even before the Bronze Age (that's if Repin/Yamnaya is already a sign of that acculturation) without any significant or even minor male dominance. Centralized states with an official language can be ruled out for that region as early as that period, and there was certainly no permanent long-distance contact, otherwise we'd expect the 2 regions to have become much more similar in their Y-DNA and Mt-DNA makeup. Would this Indo-Europeanization have happened without any appreciable migration and mostly via maternal lines? I try to accept this scenario, but the details of how that linguistic shift could've happened do not seem to be clearly explained (or even understood as of now).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    Though I understand the possibility (and even likelihood) of an ultimate South Caucasian homeland for the earliest form of PIE, I somehow find it difficult to understand that, in the ancient world, the steppe populations would've been linguistically assimilated by a South Caucasian population even before the Bronze Age (that's if Repin/Yamnaya is already a sign of that acculturation) without any significant or even minor male dominance. Centralized states with an official language can be ruled out for that region as early as that period, and there was certainly no permanent long-distance contact, otherwise we'd expect the 2 regions to have become much more similar in their Y-DNA and Mt-DNA makeup. Would this Indo-Europeanization have happened without any appreciable migration and mostly via maternal lines? I try to accept this scenario, but the details of how that linguistic shift could've happened do not seem to be clearly explained (or even understood as of now).
    Maybe more advanced civilization with much more population in the south forced the steppe population to assimilate into them? Steppe population need to know the language to communicate, trade, work etc. with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cpluskx View Post
    Maybe more advanced civilization with much more population in the south forced the steppe population to assimilate into them? Steppe population need to know the language to communicate, trade, work etc. with them.
    Maybe, but I don't think a people in a huge pre-modern region, much of which located hundreds of kilometers away from the Caucasus societies, would shift their everyday language just to be able to trade with them. They were mostly subsistence hunter-gatherers and later pastoralists, not export-driven societies. According to the study, they seem to have had "occasional contacts" with each other and maintained a strongly differentiated genetic border for centuries. That doesn't look like the situation where an entire population would shift to the more prestigious language to communicate, work and exchange ideas and goods with the foreigners who live far away and seldom mix with them. AFAIK in the past there is virtually no attested evidence of a people that forsook their language and adopted a foreign one just because they had occasional trade with them (if someone among you remembrs one such a case, please tell me), but probably lived apart from each other most of the time (see the aforementioned centuries-long genetic border with few influences from each side), so apparently there was no need to have inter-ethnic communnication on a daily basis. Multilingualism in the distant past was also no rare stuff, but linguistic shift usually requires much more than being neighbored by a more advanced society.

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    3 members found this post helpful.
    I honestly see no proof for a Southern Caucasian homeland for PIE and, more than that, a supposed expansion of PIE right from there. They themselves say it's also a possibility, it is also compatible with their data, but the authors simultaneously stress that from the North Caucasus or Pontic region "some or all of the Proto-Indo-European branches" could have been spread. The details of the narrative of the "classic" Kurgan hypothesis are certainly outdated by now, but I still see no reason to state that it is "game over". Not now, not yet.

    Actually, what I see is that there are still a lot of questions to be answered, at least two likely and competitive hypothesis, and maybe the need to finally consider the possibility that the truth relies on some middle ground between the extremes of those hypothesis, and the increasingly likely scenario of a PIE expansion (with its split into many daughter subfamilies) in two or three different stages that not only differed in chronology, but maybe also in geography, even though all the genetic data still point to the same broad region roughly between the Black Sea, Caucasus and Caspian. I think in the end we will all find that, whether the earliest (still pre-Anatolian split) PIE was north or south of the Caucasus, the IE expansion was not just a star-shaped expansion from just one original dialect, but rather a succession of expansions at different stages of the development and diversification of that language (much like the spread of Latin and eventually Romance - or should we say "Late Latin"? lol - languages).

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    Finally! It seems like they sampled many of the same specimens they discussed recently in "Contextualizing Innovation: Cattle Owners and Wagon Drivers in the North Caucasus and Beyond" too, very cool. I haven't had to time to read it through fully, but the y-dna here is quite the puzzle.

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    This is getting muddy in terms of the genetics.

    "An interesting observation is that steppe zone individuals directly north of the592 Caucasus (Eneolithic Samara and Eneolithic steppe) had initially not received any593 gene flow from Anatolian farmers. Instead, the ancestry profile in Eneolithic steppe594 individuals shows an even mixture of EHG and CHG ancestry, which argues for an595 effective cultural and genetic border between the contemporaneous Eneolithic populations in the North Caucasus, notably Steppe and Caucasus. Due to the temporal597 limitations of our dataset, we currently cannot determine whether this ancestry is598 stemming from an existing natural genetic gradient running from EHG far to the north599 to CHG/Iran in the south or whether this is the result of farmers with Iranian farmer/600 CHG-related ancestry reaching the steppe zone independent of and prior to a stream601 of Anatolian farmer-like ancestry, where they mixed with local hunter-gatherers that602 carried only EHG ancestry."

    Well, if it wasn't there before, and then it was there, wouldn't you lean toward it moving in, especially as it's showing up in steppe Maykop?

    Anyway, this is helpful to keeping it straight:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

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